The dream to win the 2022 ISA World Championships came to an end on Thursday for Senegalese surfer Cherif Fall.
The nine-time champion was attempting to make his way through the repechage heats after losing in round three on the Men's Championship heats.
He made a good run at it.
He won his opening heat on Thursday, thanks in part to a 7.50 wave to start things off. In his next heat, he finished in the second advancing spot, behind Joshua Burke of Barbados, but the magical run ended in his third heat of the day.
After the loss, a far from dejected Fall, was all smiles about his experience. After all, it was the best he has ever done in this event and became a fan favorite with other countries cheering him on in many of his heats.
"I'm very proud of myself because it was my best result," Fall said. "So many people in my country, my family was supporting me. I had my team here and my wife here, I'm just so stoked for all the support."
Fall also realizes that he is not only surfing for himself, but for many others that watch him from across the nation.
"I got so many messages on Instagram from many friends," he said. "I know now that all the people that come from Africa, see that they have someone who was there, and they can see they have a guy that went far in the contest and I'm so stoked."
"The Olympics is in two years, and I have time to train more. In the winter I will go to Hawaii and train and maybe I can be in the Olympics"
USA KEEPS ITS ROLL GOING
Nat Young, Kolohe Andino, Kirra Pinkerton and Gabriela Bryan all has successful heats Thursday and will surf in Friday's rounds.
Young and Andino surfed in the same winners' heat and finished 1-2 for a powerful statement.
Young won the heat with a 5.33 wave and 10.23 heat total. Andino caught just two waves, but his 10.00 heat total was good enough to move on.
Pinkerton had wave scores of 7.50 and 7.17 for 14.67 in winning her heat. Bryan finished in second place to advance on.
Both Griffin Colapinto and Zoe McDougall won their first repechage heat but were eliminated in the second one.
Just two days remain in the event that gets back underway Friday at 7:00 a.m. at Huntington Beach.
Friday afternoon will be the Aloha Cup, a tag team style event that will include the USA. Peru, Australia and France in one heat and Japan. Portugal, Germany and Argentina in the other with the winners surfing for the Aloha Cup following that.
In the all-important team standings, The Men's Division has Brazil sitting on top with 2310 points, followed by USA (2250), Japan (2220), Indonesia (2004) and Portugal (1720). The top four teams all have 2 surfers still remaining in the competition.
On the Women's side, Australia and France are tied (2590), followed by Portugal (2260), USA (2240) and Canada (1780). Australia and France each have all three women still alive.